Fire restrictions ease in north but remain across much of central, southern Manitoba

Manitoba’s wildfire service is gradually easing travel and fire restrictions on some areas across the northern part of the province as weather conditions have improved.

Restrictions in several wildfire management areas along Manitoba’s northern border with Saskatchewan have been lowered, the province said in a fire bulletin on Thursday.

That includes the wildfire service’s Area 12, around Clearwater Lake Provincial Park; Area 13, which surrounds the Flin Flon region and a large area east of that; and Area 14 to the north, all of which have been lowered from Level 2 to Level 1. Area 16, which includes a wide swath of northeastern Manitoba, has also been moved from Level 2 fire restrictions to Level 1 restrictions.

This means provincial burning permits are still cancelled, but campfires are allowed from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. ATVs and other off-road vehicles can’t be used from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless approved by a travel permit.

A map showing the province’s fire management areas can be found online.

Much of southern and central Manitoba still faces extreme fire risk levels, the province said in a news release. 

Several areas — including the region around the southeastern border with Ontario, the Interlake, and areas around Spruce Woods, Duck Mountain and Turtle Mountain provincial parks — remain under Level 2 restrictions.

Provincial burning permits in these areas are cancelled. Motorized backcountry travel is prohibited without a permit, and watercraft launching and landing is restricted to developed shorelines.

Wayside parks in these areas remain open.

Outfitters and industries operating in these areas may face restrictions,  and should contact their local Manitoba Conservation and Climate office.

The Canoe Landing Campground in Spruce Woods Provincial Park remains closed. The Mantario Trail remains closed but Kwasitchewan Trail has been reopened. 

Campfires are allowed between the hours of  8 p.m. and 8 a.m. in most provincial parks, except in Grand Beach  Provincial Park, which is under a full fire ban. Fireworks and sky lanterns are banned in all provincial parks at all times.

The region that includes many of the largest fires currently burning in the province remains under Level 4 restrictions.

Area 4 covers much of the region between the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg and the Ontario border, including Bloodvein First Nation. A fire near Bloodvein had grown to almost 80,000 hectares by Wednesday.

The restrictions in that area mean a full travel ban is in effect and no access is permitted. Permanent residents must be  ready to leave on an hour’s notice.

Smoke blowing in from fires across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario will continue across all areas of the province until conditions improve, the province said.

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